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Arden Chatfield

Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2007,22:06   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 12 2007,21:49)
Quote (carlsonjok @ July 12 2007,21:31)
Quote (stevestory @ July 12 2007,20:12)
Arden's our resident linguist, so this question's mostly posed to him, but not exclusively:

I'm not a very literary person. I mostly read nonfiction. For instance, here's what I'm reading now. But when I read fiction, two authors stand out for their gorgeous English. Shakespeare and P.G. Wodehouse. Is there any special reason why? Are there other writers of that caliber?

Well, I basically just read non-fiction too, but I have encountered several writers who's best work has an almost lyrical quality to me.  One is Bill Bryson, who's penultimate book is all sciency and what not.  

Oh yeah, I read that a year ago. It's incredibly informative and I really like the writing style.

Of course, the Bryson book has the predictable Tard reviews:


5 of 57 people found the following review helpful:
A Skewed History of Almost Everthing, April 17, 2006
By David B. Palmer (Windsor, SC USA) - See all my reviews
This book was given to me as a gift,and while I enjoyed reading it, I found it to be more Science-Fiction than science. While Bryson presents several theories as fact (Big Bang, Oort cloud, and macro-evolution), He is honest enough to admit (many times over) that the evidence is either scarce or non-existent. He attempts to present the un-proven and un-provable as fact, and it is actually quite humorous at times. Instead, I would recomend "Science and the Bible" by Dr. Henry Morris.


6 of 32 people found the following review helpful:
I have just become stupider for having read this book, November 26, 2004
By Val Patrick - See all my reviews
I suppose it isn't the author's fault, as his information came from "trusted sources", but obviously his trusted sources were of a certain political bent - though I doubt it was mere coincidence.

Authors typically get their information from those who have an interest in spewing their own personal ideas with little regard to reality, and such was the case here. This becomes especially evident in the second half of the book where Bill is insistent that humanity is a pock-mark on evolution.

While much of what he says with regards to the destructive nature of mankind is true, his unspoken assertion that mankind has been malicious is readily evident and absolutely unjustified. Mankind was careless? Perhaps. Mankind was ignorant? Definitely. Makind has been malicious in it's intent? Definitely NOT. Call me an optimist, or a right-wing nut-job if you want if you feel that's what my belief makes me but I hold my fellow man in much higher esteem than this author does, and the self-loathing of his race is pathetic and insulting to me.

Especially when it comes the the greatest scientist of our time. Many of our greatest scientists were eccentric, but Bill's anecdotes of them sound like the insecure rumor mongerings of an english major who never did very well in chemistry. The truth of the matter is that in order to put themselves in positions where they could think outside of the box to make truly great discoveries, the great scientists of our time often lived outside of the box of socially acceptable behavior. Bill may exploit these behaviors for his own gratification, but I'm sure history will be far kinder to them than to Bill.

14 of 112 people found the following review helpful:
Bill has learned nothing from all his research, October 24, 2004
By David Saul Austin (Elkton, MD) - See all my reviews
"Scientists have a natural tendency to interpret finds in the way that most flatters their stature", he says on page 442. It seems that authors have this same natural tendency.

The first half of the book is spent revealing the amazing fact that we even exist in such an unbelieavably inhospitable and unlikely universe, galaxy, world, and ecosystem - all these systems endowed with mind-boggling improbabilities that all the greatest evolutionary scientists must admit exist. For example: "there may be as many as a million proteins in the human body, and each one is a miracle. By all the laws of probability proteins shouldn't exist." pg 288

But on the next page he does a 180 and while admitting that evolutionary theories don't make sense he still insists that they must be true, like: "if you make monomers wet they don't turn into polymers-except when creating life on Earth. How and why it happens then and not otherwise is one of biology's great unanswered questions." pg#291

From here on out he insists that evolutionary theories are true while admitting that they are improbable and mysterious, which sets the tone for the second half of the book. He never does, incidentally, explain how millions of proteins came into existence despite the fact that the improbability of any of them evolving is mind bogglingly remote. There are so many phrases like "algea learned to tap" and "chemicals figited to life" and "whatever prompted life to begin" and "it shouldn't happen, but somehow it does" and "it's a puzzle" and "quite suddenly an entirely new type of cell arose" and "eukaryotes 'learned' to form together into multi-cellular beings" - all without any explanation how this could have happened when radiation was destorying life and creating malignant cancers incredibly faster than it was creating these serendipitous small steps that resulted in a human, so that you wonder how much of your time you can afford to waste on his arrogant and narrow-minded insistence to avoid any suggestion involving divine intervention.

He does however have an answer that I find more satisfying than what most atheists produce, albeit incredibly lame, that life simply "wants" to evolve, and would have done so in whatever environment it started in - adapting to its environment whatever that environment and becoming totally intolerant to anything else, ultimately ending up with an ecosystem that seems amazingly improbable. Seems reasonable right? Until you ask, "why does it 'want' to evolve"? His answer: "it does really seem that the purpose of life is to perpetuate DNA" Pg#410 Well, maybe that's his purpose, but not mine.

In short his trite book, which reads more like the national enquirer of dead inventors and scientists than a history book, falls prey to the blind arrogance endemic to an atheist population who claims they have it all figured out despite that for everything new that we learn, we also learn how wrong we were about other things that their "theory of everything" relied upon.

This one may be the, um, 'best':

This author will be judged by God, January 20, 2004
By Matthew Luke, Jr. (Bentonville, AR) - See all my reviews
This book, and so many other horrible books, should not be allowed to be published or sold. It was written by a liberal who has been possessed by the Devil. Belief in, and a personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ is the only way to understand the truth about these things. The only book you need to read is the Bible. The Bible is 100% accurate and true, this laughable book is a book filled with horrible lies.

"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  443 replies since June 15 2007,14:54 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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